Interview with John M. Kelly, Jr

How do you approach cover design?
With a pitchfork and gritty determination, the same way I approach finding any needle in a haystack. Often I pay my son to take time out of his busy schedule and slap together something for me. I'm old school enough to know that a good book gains an audience by word of mouth, making the cover irrelevant. But by today's standard, unfortunately that is not enough. Too much competition. I just have to hope the title is enough to grab interest, and whatever cover falls beneath it professional enough to earn a click.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird, because it teaches how to live with quiet dignity.

Jaws, because it shows that you can also live with a big mouth.

The Grapes of Wrath, because it shows life, raw and real

Of Mice and Men, because it breaks down a story to its bare essentials.

The Time Machine, because everyone should read at least one classic.
What do you read for pleasure?
Used to read the news, until I found out they lied to us! They lied to us all! When pleasuring myself, I read the ingredients of cereal boxes. There's something sensual about polysorbate, and its emulsification properties.

For entertainment, I read Stephen King, HG Wells, 60's speculative fiction (which is usually on point for most of our current ills). I reread books, too. Just because a book's message can be interpreted after experiencing a little life.
Describe your desk
I bought my desk from Office Depot. After spending an afternoon of much deliberation and sitting at a variety, I chose a walnut colored swing out armoire by Bush Furniture. It has served me well for 15 years, held together after several moves, and has sentimental value because I had to put it together over three weeks, piece by piece. I savored every moment because I knew this was going to be my one and only desk. When a door in front got scratched, I contacted Bush asking how much for a replacement. They sent me one free. Yep. Quality desk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a blue collar neighborhood in the middle of Long Island. The neighborhood, and much of my childhood, was idyllic enough. As time wore on, both innocence and streets fell to the 70's and 80's. I don't know if America will ever have a lifestyle again where everyone knew every family on the block, and surrounding blocks. The cold New York winters shaped my youth to hunkering down inside and burying my nose in a book or in front of a computer. The change of seasons brought me outside, where I would bury my nose in a book under a tree. Living in NY meant keeping up with the wiseguys, so Mad magazine was a childhood staple.
When did you first start writing?
Early, as far back as I can remember.
What's the story behind your latest book?
What's behind Corpses and Chrome? That's an easy one. Back in 2002 I approached two friends of mine about making a zombie game. One friend was apprehensive, the other was a pompous blowhard that steamrolled my zombie idea and instead insisted we make a space game. No amount of convincing our cajoling would change this idiot's pigheadedness. So I started a space game, and the other two quickly lost interest...I imagine the realization that a game doesn't appear out of thin air after talking about it may have had something to do with their lack of effort.

Anyway, a few years ago I looked up what I had called the abandoned zombie project. Sure enough, I called it "The Walking Dead." I recalled then going to buy that URL back in 2002, and finding a placeholder for some unknown graphic novel with the same name. This whole book is about evening the score between what could have been, what opportunities were lost...and now found.

Corpses and Chrome takes place well after the undead have established themselves. 50-60 years out into the future. Where there are people, there will always be zombies. Drama, humor, everything else that exists will be laid out in the plainest of fashions.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Lack of a publisher breaking down my door and putting me in a headlock while screaming, "Ya got talent, kid! Lot's of talent! You'll be big! HUGE! Sign this contract, here's a 4 pack of canned tuna in oil and a box of Cracker Jack."
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
So far, so good. One hour out and I already have twelve potential readers who have downloaded Amazombia. Hopefully we make a good partnership!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
After finishing Amazombia, and sold twenty or so copies to friends, I declared to my son that we were going to celebrate by eating at the food court at the nearby mall. My son up until this time had no desire to read anything that I had written. When he had asked what exactly it was we were celebrating, I explained it was from money made with my book. He sat down at my desk, and started reading, and reading...and reading. All the while I was very hungry. When he told me it was "pretty good," that was all I needed to see and hear.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans? I don't want fans. I don't want accolades, or even recognition. I know what I write, for the most part, is quality...entertaining quality. It may not be award winning (though I did win second place with a short story), it may not be best seller material. My writing is the little brownie sandwiched between the corn and mashed potatoes in a frozen dinner. Sure, it may have a few odd corn kernels stuck on top. Some of the mashed potatoes may have bled over the edge. But the brownie don't mind these trifling incursions to its chocolatey goodness. It sits there, calm cool and collected, waiting for you to keep down frostbitten chicken and the rest. In the end, that brownie ain't all it promised to be. That's why I won't get fans. If on the off chance I do amuse one or two people, I imagine there praise would be akin to what the letter receiving department at Hungry Man gets. One or two letters a month or year, stating they found a mouse foot mixed in with the apple strudel. To them I apologize beforehand. Sorry 'bout that. No guarantees it won't happen again.
Published 2017-01-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Prickly Pair
Price: Free! Words: 109,170. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Rick doesn’t know much. Rick doesn’t know he’s a gigolo. Rick doesn’t know he’s hurting his wife, Priscilla. Rick doesn’t know his Grandpa is his pimp. Rick has a problem. Rick thinks with only one thing. Rick’s about to stop living the life of a playboy. Rick’s about to get the severance package of a lifetime. What Rick doesn’t know, won’t hurt him…or will it?
Price: Free! Words: 98,040. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Humorous first person account of fending off the undead in the Amazon rain forest.